Technology News Recap: 15th October 2018

1. Razer Phone 2 leak reveals new features

Last week, the Razer Phone 2 was announced on Wednesday at a keynote led by Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan. Previous leaks have shown that it will share a very similar design to the company’s original smartphone.

Reportedly Amazon was at fault to prematurely divulging more details about the phone. A now-pulled listing from Amazon Italy had revealed a few key specs ahead of the originally planned reveal.

Firstly, the Razer Phone 2’s rear logo will now light up and be RGB customizable. Moreover, the device can be now charged wirelessly. The mobile device is also now IP67 water and dust resistant. With a 5.7-inch, 1440p display, the phone provides for a smooth scrolling and gaming experience. The 120Hz fluidity is a selling point that only Razer has delivered on a smartphone as Apple hasn’t yet brought the iPad’s ProMotion display tech to the iPhone.

Source: The Verge

2. iPhones could warn against spam calls in the future

According to AppleInsider a brand new Apple patent could finally give IPhone the ability to automatically recognizing a fake call before cautioning the user with a warning.

The Apple’s system would try to analyze the technical data of incoming calls to determine whether or not they’re legitimate calls or masked, forwarded internet calls that are hiding behind a spoofed caller ID. Once a call has been identified, the system would then display a warning to the user that the incoming call might not be legitimate. Spam call blocking in Apple is not as developed of an area as it is in Google. The Pixel phones flag spam calls as soon as they come in. And Google is adding another layer to the Pixel 3 that will let Google Assistant actually answer and screen questionable calls for you, transcribing the response in real time and making it easy to block and report the number for spam.

The new patent technology is not as sophisticated as Googles but it would be a step up and an improvement for the IPhone users, who at this point in time usually have to rely on their phone carries (some cases pay a fee) to detect spam calls. There is no guarantee however that Apple will actually add this feature to the IPhone as this is simply a patent. At the rate of which spam calls are becoming prevalent, it would be a smart move for Apple.

Source: The Verge

3. Facebook hacker breaks into 29 mil account

A flaw in Facebook’s “view as” feature gave a group of hackers an opportunity to gain unauthorized access to millions of accounts. The company released its most comprehensive statement yet on exactly what data was taken as part of the breach.

According to the statement, the hackers stole access tokens for 30 million accounts, allowing them to gain complete access to the profiles. Of those 30 million, the hackers accessed basic contact information (name and either email or phone number) for 14 million accounts, and additional information including gender, religion, location, device information, and the 15 most recent searches for another 15 million accounts. No information was accessed for the remaining one million accounts.

Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of product management, said “We take these incidents really, really seriously”.

Facebook planned to notify all 30 million users through the Help Center in the coming days. Most importantly, Facebook said no data was taken from third-party apps linked to the accounts, including Facebook products like Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp. At the same time, there may have been smaller but more invasive attacks during the same period that have yet to be uncovered by Facebook’s investigation.
FBI is actively investigating the hack, but declined to give further details, saying the bureau had “asked us not to discuss who may be behind this attack.”

Source: The Verge

4. Twitter under investigation

Privacy regulators in Ireland have launched an investigation into exactly how much data Twitter collects from, its URL-shortening system.

The investigation was prompted by a UK professor named Michael Veale under the General Data Protection Regulation (or GDPR), a comprehensive European privacy law that took effect in May. The law allows EU to request any data collected on them from a given company — but when Veale made that request to Twitter, the company claimed it had no data from its link-shortening service. This made Veale very skeptical, and he wrote to the relevant privacy regulator to see if Twitter was holding back some of his data.

The letter confirming the investigation states that “The DPC has initiated a formal statutory inquiry in respect of your complaint,” the letter reads. “The inquiry will examine whether or not Twitter has discharged its obligations in connection with the subject matter of your complaint and determine whether or not any provisions of the GDPR or the [Data Protection] Act have been contravened by Twitter in this respect.”

The link shortening software proved to be an effective tool at fighting malware and gathering rudimentary analytics. However, these services can also present a significant privacy risk when when used in private messages. Both Facebook and Twitter have faced lawsuits for collecting data on links shared in private messages, although no wrong-doing was conclusively established in either case.

Source: The Verge

5. Surface launches Microsoft into the top 5

For the first time, Microsoft has broken into the top five PC makers in the US. Market research firm Gartner reports that Microsoft now holds 4.1 percent of the US PC market, edging out Acer for the fifth spot.

While Microsoft has secured this top spot in the US, the company still has some work to do before that position is replicated worldwide. Fourth place Apple is far ahead with 13.7%. The number one brand in the US is HP with a market share of just over 30%.
Microsoft is doubling down on its Surface brand and has recently announced the Surface Pro 6, Surface Laptop 2, Surface Hub 2, and even a new pair of wireless headphones called the Surface Headphone.

Note that Gartner’s US figures do not include Chromebooks (or indeed iPads), but Microsoft’s hybrid Surface devices do fall under the analytics firm’s definition of a PC when it comes to compiling these stats. Gartner did, however, observe that Chromebooks are continuing to sell well in the US to educational institutions, and indeed they experienced double-digit growth this quarter, which is very impressive.

Source: The Verge

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